As Illinois abortion law maintains access to health care, Planned Parenthood said it's ready for an influx of patients
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Planned Parenthood organizations from Illinois and Wisconsin announced a partnership on Thursday.
Waukegan's Planned Parenthood location opened in 2020 with an eye on the future, anticipating the fall of Roe v. Wade which would result in an abortion ban in Wisconsin.
The far north suburban facility spent months training its Wisconsin abortion providers to practice in Illinois, and all have been licensed to do so.
In the post-Roe world, providers expect and are preparing for an influx of women from states that have banned abortion to cross borders into states where abortions are legal to obtain the procedure.
"We've seen a 10-fold increase in patients from Wisconsin coming to get care in Illinois," said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois.
The partnership between Illinois and Wisconsin chapters allows patients to start their care in Wisconsin, get an abortion in Illinois, and go back to their home state for follow up care.
Because so many Wisconsin providers are willing to cross state lines, Planned Parenthood said its Waukegan facility has doubled its capacity. The organization also plans to help Wisconsin patients with transportation costs.
"Whether people need transportation support for a drive, a bus ticket, train ticket, whatever it is, we will make it work for them," said Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin halted all scheduled abortions following the Supreme Court's decision, but assured patients would have access to safe abortion care in states where it is still legal.
Madison-based Dr. Dennis Christensen decided to buy two clinics in Rockford to accommodate Wisconsin patients with reproductive care.
"We will use it as the need arises. I managed it with people telling me it's right, glad you're here," Christensen said.
In a statement, a Pro-Life Action League spokesman said:
"Planned Parenthood has been manufacturing for years to make Illinois the abortion capitol of the United States. That's why they have built massive abortion facilities on the borders of Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin. The real shame is the general assembly of the state of Illinois is so out of step with the views of Illinois voters. Illinois families don't want to see tens of thousands of abortions done here. They don't want to see sexual predators exploiting our lack of parental involvement laws and bringing minor girls here from the Midwest for abortions and they don't want to pay for abortions. But that's what is happening here.